Advocates Seek More Funds For Childhood Cancer Research

Sep 18, 2017

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - Advocates for childhood cancer patients say there is a significant gap in funding for this population. Only 4 percent of the cancer research dollars spent nationally is dedicated to pediatric cancer.

But a bipartisan measure recently signed into law does give the FDA the authority to study whether adult cancer drugs are safe and effective for children.

Kiersten Kunick said this is an important development. Kunick's son, Austin, was diagnosed with a form of leukemia at the age of 4. He had short term memory problems and a learning disability as the result of the treatment that saved his life. But he still has to closely monitor his health.

"The more that we can do to make sure that these late effects don't happen in our children, that's really important, because it's a life expectancy issue and a quality of life issue," she said.

Kunick is also a parent advocate at CURE, the Childhood Cancer Association in Rochester. She said they have provided services for 38 children and their families so far this year.  They served 37 children in all of last year.

"And that's a huge jump and will still have three more months to go in the year,” she said. “This is happening right here in Rochester and this is why it's so important to understand that not only do we have to help these families get through this and we need to stop this from happening in the first place."

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.